SEO Friendly Web Design For Better Search Engine Ranking
Do you think search engine optimization is only about uploading great quality content? Absolutely not! In the following blog, I highlight some important components for proper search engine ranking. That is, ensuring your website is build with “SEO Friendly” practices.
Quite often I get asked why search engine optimization is SO HARD and why it takes SO MUCH TIME! I am always quick to respond that SEO is time-consuming and involves investing time and effort simply for your own good! Consider this. Let’s say all the companies who sell “widgets” decided never to update their website… and I mean for a long time, like, since 1996! What would happen is users would go to search engines, look up “widgets” and come across sites that are old, non-functional due to not being able to work newer browsers and definitely not visible on mobile devices. In fact, some of these companies might also be out of business due to competition or other reasons. In this particular example, people would simply stop looking for widgets online which means people would stop going to search engines to look for things. This is essentially what SEO is all about, delivering users the perfect website so that users always come back to the search engine to search for more! Ever notice when you stopped using search engines like HotBot, Excite, or Ask Jeeves? Some of you might not have ever used them but they disapeared because people stopped using them? Why, because the search results were inaccurate, irrelevant or outdated. When these search engine companies folded, they lost the potential to make sales off their websites and this is what current day search engines want to avoid. They do this by creating better and better search algorythms that scavenge the internet for the best possible website that could be delivered for a search terms. The better search engines can do this, the more users will use that search engine. That’s why Google has nearly 65% of the global market share… because they deliver great search results and this keeps users coming back!
We always expect fast, accurate and current results when we personally search for things on search engines but we don’t always have the same mentality when it comes to our own websites. Is your site current? Relevant? Updated? Clear? Mobile-friendly? These are all components that will help make or break your placement in search results. In this blog I will highlight an important component to proper search engine ranking: Ensuring your website has a search-engine friendly web design. Just like having new products and content, ensuring your design is “SEO friendly” is just as important to ranking high.
Ensure Your Code Is Light Weight
This should be straight-forward but you’d be surprised how often web designers still duplicate unnecessary code, especially in framework/structure and also in CSS. Styling – things like font colours, sizing etc… should never be done on a page other than your .css page. This is the brain or hub for everything that pertains to how your site looks, feels and moves and only a reference should be made to the style page from all other pages. Sometimes a particular styling element might have 10 lines of code. Imagine recoding that 100 times over the span of your entire site. You would have an additional thousand lines of unnecessary code weighing down your site and churning user resources.
The same is true for the type of web design or development framework you use for your website. I cringe when I see a “brochure” or simple marketing website built from WordPress or another development platform. What could easily be built with 15-20 pages of HTML, is now a collection of hundreds of directories and thousands of files needed to run WordPress and a database to house all your content and images. Sure WordPress is a “DIY” web design tool but there is a “heavy” price to pay for that (pun intended!). Heavy websites “choke” resources at the host and as the user-level and this adds to a negative experience.
Ensure There Are No Broken Links
Search engines are proactively looking for all your broken links and penalizing you for it… Stopped carrying a product? Deleted a page? Forgot to upload an image? All these add to the user-experience which again reflects on search engines so it’s crucial your website is entirely free of broken links. There are various tools online that can be used to scan all files on your website and pinpoint which pages show as broken or which files are missing. There are also a lot of options available through your hosting plan that allows you to manage links that people might have book-marked but no longer exist through redirecting.
Compress or Minify your JS and CSS
This is another tip along the lines of keeping your website code light. JS and CSS files can have thousands and even tens of thousands lines of code. Quite often designers and developers will organize their code in neat lines so that it’s clear to refer back to but these additional and unnecessary characters and white spaces, dramatically add to the execution time of the files and again can “choke” resources used to run your site. This might not be the case for a simple “brochure” website but for an eCommerce site running hundreds of products, you could potentially save 15-20 seconds of load time per page!